Daily Archives: September 18, 2013

Maybe Troy, Maybe Not

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Our first stop after crossing into Asia was Troy, or the area that they believe to be Troy. While these ruins are generally identified as the site of the legendary Trojan War, the evidence is not 100% conclusive. However, most historians and archeologists are convinced that this was in fact the ancient city of Troy, which apparently was enough for this area to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1998. Sounds good enough for me! Let’s call this place Troy!

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According to the Iliad, the ancient city of Troy sat atop a hill, across the plain of the River Scamander. But today, Troy is about 3 miles from any body of water (you can see the water if you look closely at the picture below). Historians believe that 3,000 years ago, the field shown below was actually a large bay that has since been filled with sediment. Geological evidence supports that this location would have matched Homer’s geographical description of Troy.

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Troy was a city that was continually built upon and expanded. For this reason, archeologists have uncovered several “layers” of Troy. These layers are called Troy I – Troy IX and they cover the periods of 3,000 BC – 500 AD. You can see placards in the picture below marking different layers of the ancient city.

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Troy VII (1300-1200 BC) is the layer associated with Homer’s story and the Trojan War. The picture of the wall below is a part of Troy VII and a likely site of the Trojan War. Our tour guide pointed out that the lower portion of the wall was designed with a slight slant to make it appear like it would be easy to climb. But towards the top of the wall, the slant disappears leaving potential wall jumpers at the mercy of the Trojans. Our guide informed us the Trojans would pour boiling oil onto invaders and then light them on fire! Scalded Spartan, anyone?

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Remains of the Temple of Athena

Remains of the Temple of Athena

Well built in 300 BC

Well built in 300 BC

Ramp built for chariots to enter the city (on the friendly side of course)

Ramp built for chariots to enter the city (on the friendly side of course)

Sacrificial grounds (with built-in wells to drain blood)

Sacrificial grounds (with built-in wells to drain blood)

Believed to be the tomb of Achilles

Believed to be the tomb of Achilles

Theater

Theater

Not convinced this is Troy?

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Well surely the placement of this Trojan Horse replica will be the only remaining proof you need!

Categories: Destinations, Turkey | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A Tale of Two Continents

Turkey’s geography is interesting because it spans two continents. The northwest corner of the country is in Europe, but the vast majority of the land is in Asia. The continents are separated by the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus Strait, and the Dardanelles Strait. The Bosphorus Strait feeds into the Black Sea in the north and the Dardanelles feeds into the Aegean Sea in the west. Despite the small portion of land that is actually located in Europe, Turkey is a member of the European Union.

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Our tour bus departed Istanbul and headed west towards Gelibolu (spelled differently on the map below).

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Gelibolu is a quaint little port town on the European side of the Dardanelles. This would be our launch point to cross over to Asia. But first, we had time for a lovely lunch at a waterside restaurant.

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After lunch, our tour bus drove onto the ferry and we were ready to make our voyage (about 20 minutes) to Asia!

Leaving Europe

Leaving Europe

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Entering Asia

Entering Asia

Welcome to Asia

Welcome to Asia

Categories: Destinations, Turkey | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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